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Live from GreenBuild: Who Should Provide Energy Reporting Data?

One of my favorite parts about Greenbuild is the absolutely fantastic lineup of speakers, even at the smaller presentations.  Such was the case at the very first seminar I attended:  "Reailty Check in the Age of Obama."  The speakers discussed the effect of the election on climate change and green building policy, and most of the predictions were negative.  

There was an interesting dialogue during the presentation between Martin Chavez of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and Karen Penafiel of Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).   Martin pointed out repeatedly that much of the green building policy over the next few years will start at the state and municipal level.  As an example, he pointed to mandatory benchmarking requirements for property owners in some cities, like Washington, D.C. and New York City. 

Dubbed the Greener Greater Building Plan, it is estimated that the New York City retrofit requirements will result in substantial private investment: 

"Planners asserted that the package, drafted by the offices of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, would result in $2.9 billion in private investment in building improvements by 2022 and generate 2,000 new jobs in energy auditing and related fields as well as thousands of temporary construction jobs."

As I listened to Chavez discuss the New York City plan, I immediately thought, "Hmm, I wonder what BOMA thinks about mandatory benchmarking standards?"  

And I was prepared to ask this question, but Penafiel preemptively provided an answer.  I was somewhat surprised to learn that BOMA does not oppose mandatory benchmarking but with one caveat:  BOMA wants mandatory benchmarking legislation to include language that makes utilities responsible for providing whole building energy data.  Penafiel's argument was that shifting the administrative burden to utilities will get around tenant privacy concerns and prevent building owners from receiving reams of utility statements. 

It is an interesting conundrum – who is best situated to provide energy reporting data?